Day of Remembrance

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Above is the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial building straddles the rusting hull of the USS Arizona. You can see the ship below the water. It entombs most of the sailors and Marines that were killed during the surprise attack on the harbor by Japanese pilots.

The memorial was commissioned in 1949 and was funded by public and private donations.

Some survivors of the attack have chosen to be interred with their shipmates on the USS Arizona. More than thirty have chosen to have their ashes placed under one of the gun turrets. Those who served on the USS Arizona, but were not assigned to the ship during the attack on December 7, 1941, can have their ashes scattered above the site.

Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

The ship continues to release fuel into the waters of Pearl Harbor. Sometimes called “black tears” or “tears of the Arizona”, this oil is constantly monitored to prevent an ecological disaster if a large amount is suddenly released from the rusting tanks.

The entire band was killed. This was the only time all the members of a band were KIA. The members of the band were on the ship and most were on deck in preparation to raise the flag. When the attack began, they ran to their battle stations beneath one of the gun turrets. The band had been a finalist in the “Battle of the Music” competition between all the ship bands in Pearl Harbor.

Twenty-three sets of brothers assigned to the USS Arizona died. One father and son duo was killed. As a result of these deaths, the U.S. government attempted to discourage having family members serve aboard the same ship, but no official regulations had been made.

Mark the sacrifice of these men and their families. Sonja

 

Get in a Flip Flop State of Mind

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

What do you think of when you wear flip flops? (Sometimes called thongs.)

I think of sand, beach, and relaxation. I hope you are able to find one of those things during this holiday season.

It can be hectic to get everything that you think must be done–done. But don’t forget the foundation of the holiday: peace, love, and joy.

Don’t get too crazy with all of your “I should–” and “I need to–”

Take a moment to enjoy. Sonja

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s an important day for all those in the United States. Today is Thanksgiving. My new book, The Voyage, would be a wonderful read to mark this day. It tells of the trials of a man who traveled throughout Europe as he searched for religious freedom.

His family settled first in Plymouth Colony and then to Sandwich, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. This illustrated easy-to-read book is available exclusively on Amazon.com.

I’m also offering Book 3 of The Fairies of Carlow, The Commoner, at special pricing starting today. This book is a middle-grade chapter book and takes place in a fairy kingdom. The Commoner tells the story of a fairy princess who chafes under the restrictions placed upon her. She flees the palace and lives as a commoner. Will she return to her royal life?

I hope you take advantage of the special pricing, which ends on November 30, and also take a look at my newest book.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. friends! Sonja

It’s Veterans Day

Fly your flag! It’s time to honor our nation’s veterans.

Originally, called Armistace Day, Veterans day is the day to honor those who have served in the military.

It is observed on November 11th of each year because that date is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistace that ended World War I. It was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor the veterans of all wars.

If you’re wondering about my grammar, Veterans Day is officially written without the apostrophe.

Did you now that the Mayflower Compact was signed on November 11, 1620? There was a small group of Americans who lobbied to have the holiday renamed Mayflower Day to honor that occasion.

I hope you fly your flag to honor U.S. veterans! Sonja

It’s Election Day!

Photo by Josh Carter on Unsplash

It’s time to cast a vote for the country. If you’re not eligible to vote, please encourage those in your life who can. If you are, please send in your mail-in ballot or go to the polls.

It’s so important for every eligible citizen to cast a vote. Here in Arizona, we are voting on important city issues, plus filling soon-to-be-vacant offices at the local level.

National elections are always held on the first Tuesday of the month–the first Tuesday that follows a Monday. So, if Tuesday is the first day of the month, then the elections are held the following week.

Congress decided on that day in 1845, specifically for presidential elections. November was an ideal time of the year since the harvest season was ending. This made it easier for people who lived in the country and worked farms to get to a polling station and cast their votes.

Every state in the union is holding elections today to select public officials and decide on legislation.

Be a part of the process! Sonja

Happy Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

I hope you have a chance to enjoy the origins of this federal holiday. Columbus Day is meant to commemorate the voyage of Christopher Columbus to America. This day was first celebrated on the 300th anniversary of his landing, on October 12, 1792, by New York’s Columbian Order, also known as the Society of St. Tammany. It became a federal holiday in 1937.

You may prefer to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This holiday is also called First Peoples’ Day, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, or Native American Day. Celebrated on the second Monday in October, this day directly opposes Columbus Day to commemorate the histories and cultures of the Native American people.

Some Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage. Since Columbus hailed from Italy. He searched for a faster route to the Far East by crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and instead landed in the New World. His first trip comprised of three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. When he and his crew arrived after a three-month voyage, they initiated the Columbian Exchange. This program introduced plants, animals, culture, settlers, and technology to the New World, but also brought invasive species and communicable diseases to the region.

It is because of these and other negative associations with Columbus’ arrival that eleven states celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day. Wisconsin became the latest state to observe this day, formally recognizing the day on Tuesday of last week.

Whichever day you observe, I hope you enjoy the day and what it represents to you. Sonja

Yom Kippur Begins Tonight

Image by hurk from Pixabay 

What is Yom Kippur?

From the time the sun sets tonight until the first stars tomorrow, the world’s Jewish and Samaritan populations will celebrate Yom Kippur. Considered the holiest of days in Judaism, Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement.

For approximately 25 hours, those who observe this holy day will fast, observe intensive prayer, and refrain from work. Yom Kippur comes about a week after Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year.

The week prior to Yom Kippur is knows as the Ten Days of Repentance. Those of the faith make special additions to their prayers and are very careful with their mitzvah observations.

There is also a custom to request and receive some honey cake. This ensures that the coming year will be sweet. Two celebratory meals precede sunset on the first day and the children are given a Priestley Prayer. Special candles are also lit prior to the holiday as observers prepare for five prayer services.

Once Yom Kippur has ended, plans are made for the next holiday. Sukkot begins in just five days and a sukkah must be constructed. This is a temporary tent-like structure meant to symbolize what the Israelites used during their 40-year wandering through the desert.

Most information is from Chabad.org

May you be blessed during Yom Kippur. Sonja

It’s the First Day of Autumn

This is my favorite season! I love it when the weather turns cooler and the leaves start to turn colors. My ideal place is sitting high on a mountain in a copse of aspen trees that are turning colors.

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When I was growing up, I lived high up in the mountains amongst the pine trees. I loved to lay on my back on the soft pine needles and look up at the towering trees. The smell of the pine needles would surround me and the sound of the wind rushing through the boughs was so peaceful.

I think you can see my love of the mountains, trees, and lakes in my writing. That’s the terrain around Revlin, where the palace of Carlow is located in the Kingdom of Carlow. There’s a wonderful lake with a waterfall and trees that grow nearly to the water’s edge. Too bad the awful Red Caps live on the other side of the southern border.

Anyway, back to autumn! Go outside and hike in the mountains. Be safe and look for the changing leaves. They’ll be everywhere!